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Illinois vs. Missouri - 12/20/14 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Missouri Tigers (5-5) at Illinois Fighting Illini (8-3)

College Basketball: Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm (Scottrade Center)

The Line: Illinois Fighting Illini -9.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN2

The Missouri Tigers and Illinois Fighting Illini square off Saturday at the Scottrade Center.

The Missouri Tigers have split their last four games and play for the first time in a week. On the season, Missouri is averaging 63.7 points on 41.7 percent shooting and is allowing 63.7 points on 43.8 percent shooting. Jakeenan Gant is averaging 13 points on 50 percent shooting and Montaque Gill-Caesar is averaging 12.6 points and 3.8 rebounds. Johnathan Williams III is grabbing 6.2 rebounds and Keith Shamburger is dishing out 3.3 assists. The Missouri Tigers have six players averaging at least six points per game while they’re shooting 67.5 percent from the free throw line and 36.7 percent from beyond the arc. Defensively, Missouri is forcing 12.3 turnovers per game and is allowing teams to shoot 35.9 percent from downtown.

Illinois vs. Missouri - 12/20/14 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Illinois Fighting Illini have lost three of their last five games and would love a win to get back on track. On the season, Illinois is averaging 79.4 points on 44.4 percent shooting and is allowing 64.3 points on 39.7 percent shooting. Rayvonte Rice is averaging 17.3 points and 6.5 rebounds while Malcolm Hill is averaging 13 points and 5.6 rebounds. Kendrick Nunn is shooting 47.6 percent from the field and Nnanna Egwu is grabbing 5.8 rebounds per game. The Illinois Fighting Illini are a quick paced offensive team that’s shooting 78 percent from the line and 39.3 percent from deep, as six players are averaging at least seven points. Defensively, Illinois is forcing 14.5 turnovers per contest and holding teams to 31.7 percent from beyond the arc. Illinois has lost three of its four games when allowing 70-plus points.

The Fighting Illini are 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 neutral site games and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall. The Tigers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a S.U. loss and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall. 

Illinois should win this game outright but the Missouri Tigers are a grind it out style team that could frustrate the Fighting Illini. Illinois wants to get out and run and the Tigers likely aren't going to have it. I expect this game to come down to the last few plays, which is why I'm taking the points. 

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Missouri Tigers +9.5

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